Mirzapur 3 Review: Has Markedly Less Tensile Strength Than The First Two Seasons

Mirzapur 3 Review: The women of Mirzapur S3 are either alarmed spectators, unwitting victims or culpable participants as violence spirals. Two of them, Madhuri and Golu, know exactly what the deal is and are prepared for the consequences.

Mirzapur 3 Review: Has Markedly Less Tensile Strength Than The First Two Seasons

Ali Fazal in a still from Mirzapur 3. (courtesy: yehhaimirzapur)

The distance that the surviving gangsters and their accomplices and rivals traverse in Mirzapur Season 3 is considerable. But the tools and tropes that the Amazon Prime Video crime show employs in the new tranche of ten episodes remain firmly within familiar parameters.

The reign of carpet exporter and crime boss Akhandanand Tripathi alias Kaleen Bhaiya (Pankaj Tripathi) has ended in the lawless badlands of Purvanchal. Guddu Pandit (Ali Fazal) is now the top dog in the titular crime-ravaged town. Golu Gupta (Shweta Tripathi Sharma) is his partner in crime. But the gaddi (throne) is shaky.

Guddu isn't the undisputed King of Mirzapur yet, which is why the impetuous and impatient contender frequently lets provocations get the better of him. Ill-advised moves and overly cocky stances land him and Golu in situations that snowball beyond their control.

The threat of a determined, scheming vengeance-seeker Sharad Shukla (Anjumm Shharma) looms over Guddu and his gun factory. A battle of attrition ensues despite the chief minister's avowed mission to rid the region of its violent gangsters.

Mirzapur S3 has markedly less tensile strength than the first two seasons. The fact that it is much more of a slow burn than usual is not, however, necessarily a drawback. In fact, it opens up room for several startling and intriguing narrative sleights.

Kaleen Bhaiya, hors de combat for the most part, is in the middle of a slow recovery from coma. But even when he is back in harness, the imperious, temperamentally volatile man is only a shadow of his own self, harping on gaddi and parampara (tradition).

The spotlight of the show is squarely on Guddu. He spends a fair bit of time in the process of ridding himself of the effects of an injury he suffered in a past near-fatal encounter. Once back on his feet, he returns to the gym to pursue his passion for bodybuilding.

As CM Madhuri Yadav (Isha Talwar), with the help of Inspector-Geeral of Police Vishudanand Dubey (Manu Rishi Chadha), furthers her plan for a bhaymukt (crime-free) pradesh, the gangland violence shows no signs of letting up

Guddu is their prime target. "Bhaymukt pradesh ki shuruaat Guddu ke ant se hogi (A crime-free region will begin with the end of Guddu), the chief minister asserts. Greed, ambition, thirst for power and cross-generational hostilities, everything that contributes to the turbulence in Mirzapur, run amok and suck everybody, including the CM, into the vortex.

The government hatches conspiracies, makes compromises and strikes clandestine deals. In the personal spaces that the key characters inhabit, the already disintegrating families - the Tripathis, the Pandits, the Tyagis and the Shuklas - face further bereavements and betrayals, mostly self-provoked and perpetrated.

In one scene, the CM acknowledges the high price that the combatants must pay. She says: Family power ki tarah hoti hai kab chhin jaaye pata nahi (Family is like power, there is no way of knowing when it'll be gone). Indeed, as the tussle for turf intensifies, personal losses mount.

In a telling sequence, Guddu meets his father Ramakant Pandit (Rajesh Tailang), now an undertrial for the murder of a police officer. They stand separated by a partition in the prison's visiting area. I am numbed by grief, Guddu says.

He then asks: How are you so stoical? He finds it hard to fathom why nothing has been able to break his father. This is the first time you are asking me for advice, Ramakant says to his son, but I have none. But by the time the conversation ends he does counsel Guddu to do whatever he has to do in order to survive.

Mirzapur S3 is co-directed by Gurmmeet Singh, the sole behind-the-scenes creative talent who has been involved in all three seasons, and Anand Iyer. They ensure that the script, written by Apurva Dhar Badgaiyann, Avinash Singh and Vijay Narayan Verma, does not stray from the white-knuckle ambience originally envisaged for the Excel Media and Entertainment-produced crime show.

After a prolonged recap that brings the audience up to speed, the season starts with Munna Tripathi's cremation. His pragmatic wife, Madhuri, as a chief minister skating on thin ice, goes all in and makes alliances to strengthen her grip on power and bring the gangsters to book. In the bargain, she isn't averse to bending a few rules.

Divyenndu's Munna Tripathi is obviously missing from the scene and Pankaj Tripathi's centrality (large parts of his footage has the character in a supine state) is substantially reduced. Ali Fazal solidly carries the show on his shoulders.

Rasika Dugal, Shweta Tripathi Sharma, Isha Talwar, Vijay Varma and Arjunn Shharma stepping up to the plate as individuals engaged in or witness to, the battle for Mirzapur.

Rajesh Tailang and Anil George (as the profit-obsessed opium supplier Lala) - one of the two imprisoned patriarchs helps inmates write mercy petitions and bail pleas, the other pines for freedom for himself - also deliver strong performances.

Mirzapur is expectedly still focused on the gang wars and the collateral damage they wreak, but this season goes a tad easy in that direction, opting to heighten the intrigue quotient through the means of closed-door meetings, attempted police encounters, and fraught meet-ups of the Purvanchal gang lords that invariably end in chaos.

Mirzapur S3 has its share of shootouts but none is in the league of the wedding massacre of Season 1 or the bloodbath of Season 2 that saw one of the Tyagi twins (Vijay Varma) and his maternal uncle being mowed down. The gunfights here, somewhat less electrifying, are generally disposed of quickly.

Season 3 does, however, throw in an unsettlingly violent sequence in which a twitchy Guddu, during a minor altercation, launches a murderous bare-hands attack on the object of his ire, a man from his circle of acquaintances. So barbaric is the result that he himself is rattled.

The women of Mirzapur S3 are either alarmed spectators, unwitting victims or culpable participants as violence spirals. Two of them, Madhuri and Golu, know exactly what the deal is and are prepared for the consequences.

Others like Beena Tripathi (Rasika Dugal), who is now the mother of an infant boy, Dimpy Pandit (Harshita Shekhar Gaur), Shabnam (Shernavaz Jijina), Lala's daughter, and Guddu's mother Vasudha Pandit (Sheeba Chaddha) are voices of sanity doomed to be drowned out in the din.

As the tenth and final episode begins wind down, surprising twists are introduced - none more interesting than the final one - and new possibilities are suggested. So, is another season on the anvil? Or should it be? The battle of Mirzapur is far from over. An extension may be in order.


Pankaj Tripathi, Ali Fazal, Shweta Tripathi Sharma, Rasika Dugal, Vijay Varma, Isha Talwar, Anjumm Shharma, Priyanshu Painyuli, Harshita Shekhar Gaur, Rajesh Tailang, Sheeba Chadha, Liliput Faroqui and Anangsha Biswas


Gurmmeet Singh and Anand Iyer